Aussie swimmers assured of security, but some may stay away

But some of them might still stay away from the Oct 3-14 Games after a series of pull-outs by other international athletes over health and security fears.

The Aussies are undergoing training in the Malyasian capital ahead of the Games, and at a security briefing they were told that they would get the "best security in the world" in Delhi.

The briefing eased off concerns of the swimmers, especially when fellow countrymen cyclist Travis Meyer and table tennis player Stephanie Sang withdrew from the Games Sunday.

Christian Sprenger, a world record holder in 200m breaststroke and a 2006 Melbourne Games gold medallist, said he feels more comfortable after the briefing but there was still a chance that some could leave Delhi if they were not comfortable with the surroundings.
"I really want to go over there and see what it is like with my own eyes," Sprenger was quoted as saying by the Sydney Morning Herald.

"Obviously, when athletes pull out it does make me think twice about my participation. I really want to go over there and see what it is like with my own eyes."

"And we have an agreement with the Commonwealth Games Association that if we do not feel comfortable at some point and want to pull the pin, it is possible for us to leave. That option is open. That makes us a lot more comfortable knowing that is available."
But Sprenger said the team looked much more comfortable after the security update.
A final briefing will be held Tuesday before the team flies out to India.

"The team came out of that meeting quite confident," said Sprenger.
"It was just a matter of us all going as a team and being positive together - that will keep us strong."

"It has made me a lot more confident going to Delhi and helped me think about my racing a lot more."

"The security and health concerns had been in the back of my mind, and that would not have helped my racing."

"The more relaxed I feel about security at Delhi the better I am going to perform and the whole team is going to perform."

Sprenger also admitted the briefing even eased his family's concerns.
"I was concerned about the unknown, being such an unpredictable country," he said.
"I have never been there before. I really do not know what to expect. And that is behind why my parents are so worried about me going over there. But they are feeling better about it, and that makes me feel more comfortable."

Beijing relay gold medallist Kylie Palmer said the Australian swimming team were assured in the briefing that organisers had done the needful to protect the athletes during the Games.

"The best security in the world. That is what we got told last night," Palmer was quoted as saying. "I guess you can't ask for more than that."
Palmer did not think that her teammates were now considering pulling out.
"For us we are just trying to concentrate on our swimming now, making sure we feel good in the water and that everything else is taken care of," she said.
"It is up to the individual to find out more information if they are still a bit hesitant," she said.

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